The May 2014 Issue

ER Follow-Up

By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD

Author Peter Lyle DeHaan

Last month I took a trip to the ER – as a patient. It was one of the silly things; I guess that’s why they call them accidents. A series of small decisions throughout my day resulted in a final “oops” at the wrong time and…well, I’ll spare you the details.

My wife drove while I applied pressure to my hand. The ER was empty (great timing on my part), so we were in and out quickly. Ninety minutes later I was back home, doted upon by my sympathetic wife.

From a customer service standpoint, the ER staff did everything right. They were personable, empathic, efficient, supportive – and effective. I bantered with the nurse and complimented the doctor as she stitched me up (six, if you’re interested.) They gave me detailed discharge instructions, answered my questions, and listened as I recapped what I understood them to say.

I expected the proverbial icing on the cake the next day with a follow-up phone call. The call never came. I wish it had, because by then I had another question.

Eight days later I returned to have my stitches removed. To my delight, I saw the same nurse and the same doctor. Everything looked good; the scarring would be minimal. I was in and out in a few minutes.

Would I receive a phone call this time? Nope. They could have called (or emailed, or snail-mailed): “Thank you for using our services; we know you have options in healthcare and appreciate you picking us!”

They also could have called to connect me with a personal physician, since I confessed to not currently having one when they admitted me. What a great way to keep me in their system and do more business with me in the future.

They missed two opportunities: one to better serve me now and another to ensure my future patronage. What a difference just one phone call could have made.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is the publisher and editor-in-chief of Medical Call Center News. He’s a passionate wordsmith whose goal is to change the world one word at a time.

Clinical Update on Triage of Heart Failure Patients Post-Discharge

The ultimate goal of healthcare reform is improving the delivery of healthcare in the area of quality and cost-effectiveness of care. For many call center professionals, this is what we’ve been waiting for – a requirement for healthcare providers to improve quality while delivering healthcare in the most cost-effective way. One way the call center can assist in meeting both goals is to manage a re-admission management program, especially one focused on heart failure, the leading cause of re-admissions to hospitals. The April edition of Clinical Update for Telephone Triage Nurses by Schmitt-Thompson Clinical Content discusses how triage nurses can help reduce unnecessary heart failure re-admissions.

Nursing Economic$ Looks at Nurse Staffing Excellence

“Nurse staffing in the world of healthcare reform and accountable care is uncertain and creates fear, not only for the nurse leaders but for all RNs. Including RNs in conversations, visioning, and problem solving for the future will best prepare the profession for our role in caring for our patients,” said Linda Aiken, PhD, RN, FAAN, FRCN.

Dr. Aiken discussed the impact of research on nurse staffing in an in-depth interview published last fall in the September/October 2013 issue of Nursing Economic$, The Journal for Health Care Leaders, which isits 3rd Annual Special Issue on Staffing Excellence, Beyond the Numbers.

This special issue addressed how new methods, measures, and metrics of nurse staffing reflect the dynamics of the healthcare environment, drawing greater attention to patients as “users” and healthcare providers as “managers” of patient care needs, explained editor Donna Nickitas in “Methods, Measures, and Metrics of Nurse Staffing: Uncovering the Evidence.”

Now that hospitals are being penalized for re-admission rates and poor patient satisfaction results are being reported, a business case exists for staffing effectiveness. Rather than prescribe fixed numeric ratios for nurse staffing, laws like the Illinois Nurse Staffing by Patient Acuity Act give nurses a voice in their hospital staffing plans.

These articles and more are available from Nursing Economic$.

TriageLogic Receives URAC Accreditation

TriageLogic has been awarded Full Health Call Center Accreditation from URAC, a Washington, DC-based healthcare accrediting organization that establishes quality standards for the healthcare industry. URAC’s Health Call Center Accreditation ensures that registered nurses, physicians, or other validly licensed professionals perform the clinical aspects of telephone triage and other health information services in a manner that is timely, confidential, and includes medically appropriate care and treatment advice.

TriageLogic handles nurse triage calls for subscribed medical facilities and physicians, using registered nurses and following Schmitt-Thompson’s evidence-based clinical protocols for providing comprehensive nurse triage. “We invest a lot of time and effort to ensure that our services meet high-quality standards for nurse triage. The URAC accreditation exemplifies our commitment to competence and quality,” said TriageLogic CEO, Charu Raheja, PhD.

“By applying for and receiving the Health Call Center Accreditation, TriageLogic has demonstrated a commitment to quality healthcare,” added URAC president and CEO Kylanne Green.

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